Innovative Classrooms

At Tampa Prep we realize that innovative classrooms require more than fancy desks on wheels (though a technologically advanced atmosphere conducive to collaboration, student engagement and creativity is a great start!).

Truly innovative classrooms begin with a comprehensive approach that integrates technology into every aspect of curricular activities and extracurricular opportunities. We invite you to select the tabs below to learn more about how our students are:

  • benefiting from state-of-the-art collaborative classrooms
  • obtaining 21st century learning skills like leadership, curiosity and resilience
  • using their own iPads in every class at every grade level with more than 30 Apple Certified teachers
  • gaining advanced concentration and credits in the areas of robotics, engineering, programming and virtual reality
  • joining clubs and attending summer camps to learn how to code, build robots, design virtual reality apps and games and more.

Active Learning Environments (ALEs)

The concept behind an Active Learning Environment (ALE) is to provide students with a technologically advanced atmosphere conducive to collaboration, student engagement and creativity. Custom components including light, sound, comfort and technology are incorporated to ensure optimal learning within each classroom.

The physical changes combine with the innovative teaching methods to enhance the student acquisition of vital 21st century skills.

What are 21st Century Learning Skills?

21st century skills are the tools today's students need to prepare for their rapidly-changing, tech-savvy, global future. Examples include:

  • Leadership
  • Self-confidence
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Curiosity
  • Problem solving
  • Responsibility
  • Independence
  • Creativity
  • Character
  • Resilience
  • Kindness
  • Empathy
  • Global perspective
  • Individuality
  • Balance

Here are just a few ways Tampa Prep helps students acquire 21st century skills:

  • Interactive assignments
  • Multimedia projects
  • Student-led discussions
  • Small group collaboration
  • One-on-one instruction
  • Oral presentations
  • Independent study
  • Varied teaching methods
  • Experiential learning trips
  • Interdisciplinary projects
  • Guest lecturers and visiting authors
  • Small classes
  • Self-guided activities
  • Multi-faceted tasks
  • Experimental labs
  • International visitors

Media Coverage

“The student experience was at the center of every decision that was made on this project. Although technology is on display throughout our Active Learning Environment, it is there as a tool to enhance the student experience. Technology does not drive the educational experience at Prep. What’s best for students drives what happens in the classrooms.
- Associate Head of School and Head of the Middle School Joe Fenlon

Apple Distinguished School Designation

Apple Distinguished School

Tampa Prep Named Apple Distinguished School for Two Consecutive Terms, Boasts 30 Certified Apple Teachers

Tampa Preparatory School has been internationally recognized by Apple Inc. as one of the most innovative schools in the world as an Apple Distinguished School for the second time. In 2014, Tampa Prep became the first Apple Distinguished School in the Tampa Bay area, and is now the only school in the area to receive the designation two consecutive times. This designation is reserved for schools that meet criteria for innovation, leadership and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments.

Systematic planning and testing to prepare for the rollout of the iPad one-to-one program made implementation seamless. Students and faculty have now thoroughly embraced the new device throughout all grades and disciplines.

A group of faculty holding iPads and an apple distinguished school bannerSince Tampa Prep's initial Apple Distinguished designation, 30 employees have completed training and testing to earn Apple Teacher certification. The Middle School introduced Active Learning Environments (ALEs) in 2014 and in 2016, the Upper School was renovated, creating 43,000 square feet of ALE classrooms and common areas. These custom spaces include mobile furniture and various visual and audio enhancements that provide a front-row seat for each student.

In addition, Tampa Prep has incorporated further personalization in student learning to encourage 21st century skills like collaboration, leadership and problem solving.

Head of School Kevin M. Plummer said, “The integration of Apple products into our environment allows mobile and digital technology to be part of our culture. Multimedia projects, student collaboration and leadership are enhanced with the use of cutting-edge technology every day.”

With the use of iPads, teachers can provide instant feedback to their students using various educational apps. Science classes run lab simulations and conduct virtual dissections with ease. Many disciplines use green screens to create interesting and relevant videos and students in all grades can learn computer programming, edit photos, compose music and create CAD drawings on the iPad for 3D printing.

“We are excited that Apple has recognized how our thoughtful integration of technology supports our mission of providing unlimited, relevant opportunities for innovative teaching and learning,” said Chad Lewis, Director of Technology at Tampa Prep.

The two-time Apple Distinguished School designation highlights our success as an innovative institution that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment. As part of the application process, the Technology Department created an engaging iBook ( detailing the process.

iPads in the Classroom

iPad One-to-One

Hands-On, Interactive Learning

Learning comes to life when students incorporate multimedia in our iPad one-to-one environment. Research becomes more powerful and dynamic when students can view Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic speech at the Lincoln Memorial, rather than simply reading the words. Languages are learned interacting with native speakers, reference materials are presented in three dimensions and students create multimedia projects to reinforce concepts. Student work is instantaneously projected onto screens in the class for discussion and review. This creative, hands-on approach facilitates student-led instruction and peer-to-peer collaboration.

Below, read some recent stories about how our faculty and students are integrating iPads into daily lessons and cross-curricular learning.

STEM Studies, Clubs & Activities

STEM Studies (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at Tampa Prep involve a progressive curriculum in computer science and programming from grades 6 through 12. We are not just a 1-to-1 iPad school... we are a 1-to-1 robot school within the STEM curriculum. Examples of courses include:

Grade 6: Robotics
(LEGO EV3 and iPad app)
Intro to Engineering Design (IED) - Grade 10

60% projects, 40% math, CAD on Autodesk Inventor

Grade 7, 8: Intermediate Robotics
(VEX IQ and Graphical "Robot C")
Principles of Engineering (POE) - Grade 11

70% formulas, 30% projects, survey of engineering

Aerospace Engineering - Grade 12

80% projects, planes, rockets

Computer Science and Software Engineering - Grades 9-12

Progressive curriculum on programming with Python, Swift, Advanced Python and Raspberry Pi.

iOS App Development and Student Help Desk - Grades 9-12


  • Tampa Prep will help pay for Autodesk Certified User exam, an industry certification that is impressive on college applications.
  • Students with stanine of 6 or higher on Project Lead the Way exam receive up to six college credits for IED and POE classes.

In support of the School's Mission Statement, Tampa Prep offers an interdisciplinary STEM Concentration for rising 10th grade students who relish the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The underlying goal is to equip graduating students with a range of experiences that prepare them for further opportunities in these fields, while also completing Tampa Prep’s graduation requirements. Students who successfully complete all requirements for a Concentration will be recognized at graduation. Read more about the program overview and curriculum criteria.

  • Virtual Reality Development Club
  • Robotics Club (competes)
  • Makers Club (makerspace)
  • Programming Club
  • LEGO Club - Castle, LEGO Club - World Wonders and LEGO Club - Star Wars
  • Intro to Circuits and Coding for Girls
  • Basic Engineering I & II Combo
  • Arduino and C Programming
  • Introduction to Robotics using NXT
  • Coding for Girls
  • Intro to Unity 3D (learning to build virtual reality apps and games)
  • Strategy Board Games
  • VEX IQ (robot programming)

Terp Academy

Terrapin Math Academy (A.K.A. Terp Academy) was created for Tampa Prep students by our Math Department under the leadership of Mrs. Pat Embry. Podcasts are available from several classes, covering a variety of topics to aid in student review of the material. We are pleased to share this resource with others outside of our community who may find it useful. Be sure to check back as more classes will be added.

Begin your Terp Academy lessons in: